Lance Benzel

Out There Reporter

Lance Benzel reports on outdoor recreation along with feature stories - occasionally dipping into hard news. Benzel is a former courts reporter at The Gazette.
  • Pikes Peak's South Slope reopens to chilly fanfare

    Updated: Thu, May 28, 2015

    The South Slope Recreation Area on Pikes Peak is open for the season, but count on a chilly reception if you have early reservations. Visitors to the city-owned chain of lakes, which opened Saturday, report that McReynolds and Mason reservoirs are iced over and that trails are...

  • New Barr Camp caretakers keeping it all in the family

    Updated: Thu, May 28, 2015

    Catering to weary travelers at Barr Camp soon will be a family affair, courtesy of the first brother-and-sister team of caretakers in the camp's history. "It's so ironic," said Ashley Miller, half of the sibling duo. "I kept telling people all I want to do is make pancakes and have...

  • Paint Mines Interpretive Park, Colorado Springs bug museum to be featured

    Updated: Wed, May 27, 2015

    Tucked away in the plains east of Colorado Springs, Paint Mines Interpretive Park is one of the world's "fantastical places" - a one-of-a-kind attraction whose whimsical, colored hoodoos have lured awestruck humans for thousands of years. That's the verdict of - an...

  • Rain-damaged Red Rock Canyon could present new problems for Colorado Springs

    Updated: Wed, May 27, 2015

    Near-record rainfall this month exposed a potential legal thicket at Red Rock Canyon Open Space that could force emergency action, including trail reroutes, which would add to Colorado Springs' multimillion-dollar repair tab, officials say. An earthen retention pond in the western...

  • List: Updated trail closures in the Colorado Springs area

    Updated: Wed, May 27, 2015

    The following trail closures remain in effect in Colorado Springs, as of late Tuesday: - The Midland Trail between 26th Street and Ridge Road - All of Red Rock Canyon Open Space, due to the extensive damage caused by recent rains and a dam breach within Sand Canyon. - Section 16...

  • It's official: Fees set to rise at Rocky Mountain National Park

    Updated: Tue, May 26, 2015

    Fees at Rocky Mountain National Park will increase as much as 50 percent beginning Oct. 1, the park announced Tuesday. Starting in October, the weekly pass will increase from $20 to $30 and the annual pass will increase from $40 to $50. The annual pass will increase to $60 by 2017. In...

  • 5 hiking trails near Colorado Springs where you can escape big crowds

    Updated: Thu, May 21, 2015

    The Pikes Peak region is blessed with its share of singletrack chestnuts - trails that never get old, no matter how many times we tread them. But there's no reason to get stuck in a rut. Any day now the rain will relent. When it does, The Gazette proposes five lesser-traveled Front...

  • Storms damage to Colorado Springs trails estimated at nearly $3 million

    Updated: Tue, May 19, 2015

    Storms that battered Colorado Springs this month delivered the city's parks department its heftiest repair bill in memory, topping the ruinous floods of September 2013. Parks officials tallied $2.8 million in damage to 19 locations along the Interstate 25 corridor, including trail...

  • It's back! Popular Front Range poster available again

    Updated: Mon, May 18, 2015

    Five months after drawing a crowd with a limited-edition run, a new printing of The Gazette's award-winning poster featuring Colorado's Front Range soon will be for sale again. Five thousand copies of the approximately 6-foot-by-1-foot illustration will be available starting Monday...

  • For Colorado hot springs maven, it's all about the soak

    Updated: Sun, May 17, 2015

    Call it a collective case of sour grapes, but Deborah Frazier is accustomed to getting guff about her job. She's the hot springs maven - the lady who tests the waters for the rest of us, as spiritually demanding as that sounds. "I constantly take ragging for it," said the former...

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